Katie Hatch Memorial She wandered from the wagon, over the cliffs and down the rocks…

The Proper Function

Our Beloved Girl Is Gone

Catharine Lovara “Katie” Hatch was born on July 13th, 1898 to John Hatch (1860-1946) and Mary Jane Hatch (1867-1947). The family all lie peacefully in a cemetery located in Taylor, Arizona. The Hatches had traveled to this area from Utah and were known as Mormon Pioneers. Unfortunately, the memorial pictured below marks a tragic turn in Hatch family history.

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The Phoenix Gazette posted an article written by Kenneth Arlene that provides some insight into the tragedy surrounding the seven-year-old girl. All of those who knew Katie have since passed. But, the Hatch family speak of the girl as if the event occurred yesterday. The great scout, C.E. Cooley, called it “the greatest tragedy of Northern Arizona.” A song was written about the event:

Listen to me, all ye people,
 while a sorrowful tale I tell. 
 Late it happened in Arizona,
 of a family I knew well. 
 They did go up to White River,
 catching fish, having pleasure there,
 'Til at length their little Kathryn strayed
 from them, they knew not where.

It was July 15, 1905 when the Hatch family were en route along the Spingerville-Fort Apache wagon road to go fishing. Around Noon, they were at the edge of Gooseberry Creek, southeast of McNary. At this point, there are two versions of the story that has emerged from my research. One story is that while lunch was being prepared, the children “went around a hill in search of water” and the other was that they were “out gathering flowers”. Either story, Katie became separated from the other children and got lost in the dense forest.

The family was notified that little Katie was missing and “all hands went in search”. A party of about “10 or 11 men” started searching the dense forest. “The trail of the little one was finally found leading down into White River Canyon, one of the roughest, wildest looking places, filled with lava formations and rattlesnakes”. The party searched all night without a trace as news of the search was carried out by couriers on horseback.

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While a few tracks were found, “The nature of the formation made it next to impossible to find tracks, even with the best Indian trailers”. They searched only the North side of the river as everyone seemed sure that she would not have crossed the river. They also drug the river without success. Days became weeks and July turned into August. C.E. Cooley, mostly known for winning the card game that founded Show Low, Arizona, utilized his resources and relationship with the Apache Tribe to assist in the search.

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On August 4, 1905 the searched ended after 20 days. The Salt Lake Newspaper described the scene “As the line was moving along in a terrific storm, amid thunder and lightning, a halt was called to allow some of the boys a chance to seek temporary shelter. While there, one of the riders noticed something that looked like human hair. The father rode forward a little and beheld the remains of his lovely little girl, who had died at the root of a pine tree, on the south side of the White River, three miles from the mouth of Gomez Creek.”

She did wander from the wagon,
 down the cliffs and over rocks.
 Down the gama through the thicket,
 'til at last the river she crossed.
 No one thought she'd cross that river,
 no one thought a watch there to keep
 On that little child of seven,
 for the stream was wide and deep.
 But she surely crossed that river
 and she wandered on and on
 'Til all worn out and disheartened,
 to weep and die she lay her down.

Katie was brought 50 mile to Taylor, where services on August 6, 1905 drew “the largest gathering of people ever seen at a funeral”. Approximately 500 people attending with 56 wagons and 15 horsemen.

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Function Details

I would encourage everyone to receive permission from the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish before engaging upon this function as you are on tribal land. Take Highway 260 past McNary, Arizona. At mile marker 364, make a right hand turn onto a dirt road and take a right at the first fork. Continue 0.3 miles and stay straight. Go 0.1 miles and turn left. Further down at 0.4 miles is the monument resting on the east side of the road.

 

This Proper Function
(Approximate Data)
Arizona
101°
clear sky
humidity: 13%
wind: 11mph SW
H 103 • L 74
88°
Sun
86°
Mon
87°
Tue
84°
Wed
86°
Thu
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
F
Party Cloudy
2,315ftElevation 13.7hrsDistance From You
LocationMcNary
State, RegionArizona,Northeast
Coordinates34.078667°, -109.883069°
DirectionsView on Google Maps
DifficultyEasy
WaterBring
DogsYes
HistoricYes
Time15 Minutes

TPF

Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and founder of The Proper Function, an outdoor editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.